Singapore, 22 March 2023 – Unilever Singapore and the National Volunteer & Philanthropy Centre (NVPC) today announced a strategic partnership to equip small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in adopting Corporate Purpose for long-term business growth and being a Company of Good in Singapore.
The Purpose for Growth Programme is the first of many strategic collaborations that NVPC will be spearheading as part of the refreshed strategy which was launched at the inaugural Company of Good Singapore Summit in January.
The collaboration between Unilever Singapore and NVPC will support small and medium-sized companies in Singapore to embark on their Corporate Purpose journey which will help them align to emerging trends in sustainability and ESG (environment, social and governance) while positioning them for future growth.
Corporate Purpose refers to why a company exists, in essence, its reason for being. It can be perceived as the North Star which guides the ethos, strategy, and all functions of the company. As we move beyond the pandemic, many companies are seeking to reposition themselves for the future.With growing interest in sustainability and ESG, there is a sense that companies must go beyond profits alone and contribute to the greater good.Through the adoption of Corporate Purpose, SMEs can improve their business competitiveness while enhancing their ability to engage important stakeholders like customers, employees, suppliers and even the community at large. More are embracing their role as a positive, proactive force in tackling societal challenges, leading the drive to net zero and championing sustainability.
By embracing Corporate Purpose, companies can achieve win-win outcomes for their business and the society at large, through heightened resilience, talent attraction and retention, creativity and innovation, as well as trust from customers and investors.
To ensure the long-term survivability and competitiveness of small and medium-sized businesses in Singapore it is essential to ensure that all companies have the capabilities to grow with Purpose.
Mr Tony Soh, CEO, NVPC said: “Increasingly, businesses and their leaders are being called upon to do more for the communities in which they operate so that businesses and communities can flourish together. We are heartened by Unilever Singapore’s willingness to share its experience in driving business growth through sustainability and take a leadership role in helping SMEs adopt Corporate Purpose. Through this partnership, we hope to show SMEs that they can create societal impact and business growth regardless of size. Being small means they are nimble and agile, and better able to pivot quickly towards sustainable and purposeful solutions to address problems of people and planet.”
The programme will launch in June 2023 and be held at Unilever Campus @ one-north which serves as a strategic hub for Unilever’s global business and is co-located with the Unilever Four Acres Leadership Centre – Unilever’s ‘corporate university’ and the only global leadership development centre outside of the United Kingdom.
The core programme design will be a long-term capability programme that comprises of two phases:
- Phase 1: An information session where SMEs are invited to understand, and be inspired to adopt corporate purpose in order to do good in Singapore; and
- Phase 2: A smaller group of committed SMEs can embark on a deeper journey with Unilever to adopt corporate purpose through structured learning and mentorship – ultimately, supporting their long-term and sustainable business growth.
As a knowledge partner, Unilever can contribute to the partnership in more ways than one. Unilever will mentor SMEs to share how purpose can be incorporated seamlessly into their existing business models. Unilever can also leverage its network of suppliers and partners in the region to extend relevant knowledge resources, solutions to the participating SMEs. Unilever’s network of partners in Singapore includes technology partners, ingredient suppliers, waste management companies, marketing, and media companies.
Mr Samir Singh, Chair, Unilever Asia Pte Ltd and Chief Marketing Officer, Global Personal Care, Unileversaid "We believe that brands with purpose grow, people with purpose thrive and companies with purpose last. By embracing this, we have not only made a positive impact on society, but also on our business performance. We have seen growth soar, risks diminish, trust among stakeholders increase and the brightest talent flock to our door. It is clear that doing good is not only the right thing to do, but it also makes good business sense. We are thrilled to partner with NVPC on the Purpose for Growth programme and to share our journey with other Singaporean companies who are ready to make a meaningful impact on the world."
Alongside Unilever, NVPC will share the key principles and practices outlined in Corporate Purpose: A Framework and Blueprint for Businesses in Singapore, providing tangible practices for companies to create impact across the five impact areas – People, Society, Governance, Environment and Economic.
In addition, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) will lend support to this initiative by providing industry input to the programme to meet the needs of SMEs, as well as invite SME members to participate in this programme.
Mr Albert Tsui, Executive Director, Advocacy and Policy, SBF said, “For businesses to strengthen resilience and continue thriving amidst an uncertain global outlook, they need to prioritise business transformation, employee engagement, and customer loyalty. The Purpose for Growth Programme will help SMEs approach this in a systematic way and to develop the capabilities and networks needed to energise this journey.”
Enabling Strategic and Sustainable Business Growth
There are increasing demands on downstream firms – which are largely small and medium-sized enterprises – to embrace Corporate Purpose and sustainable practices. However, for smaller companies, limited resources can often prove a barrier to effective implementation.
It is therefore imperative that organisations who have capacity and capability to do so, offer support to the wider business ecosystem.
A Brighter Future with Corporate Purpose
For the corporate purpose movement to succeed, it needs to engage and inspire all companies in Singapore. Earlier in January, the Corporate Purpose: A Framework and Blueprint for Businesses in Singapore was launched by NVPC to guide businesses to initiate and progress in their respective corporate purpose journeys.
This represents a critical first step in helping companies – regardless of size – to adopt Corporate Purpose as the strategy driving them towards the future where businesses can be a force for good in society.